Mystery Monday: Henry Mays

The photo I was going to post today will have to wait. I was entering the Mays family into my family file yesterday. The Mays family is always a frustration for me because the sheer amount of them. They also loved to name their kids the same 10 names. It wasn’t uncommon to have 3 cousins, named William, and they were all born within a year of each other. That’s not what I’m writing about today though. My mystery is with Henry Mays.

He first shows up in 1900 with John and Celia Mays. He is listed as their son, with a birth date of 1885. This was always a little sketchy for my Mom because this puts him at 13 years younger then his nearest sibling. I did find another male child that was still born in 1875, so that pushes it to 10. Still, that is quite a leap. Mom always suspected that Henry might have been John and Celia’s grandson, born to their daughter Nancy. Nancy was 15  at the time of Henry’s birth. There is absolutely no evidence of this though so he’s John and Celia’s son in my mind.

John Mays household, 1900. Devils Fork, Elliott County, Kentucky.

All is well with the family through the 1910 census. It’s in 1920 that things get complicated. John and Celia moved to Clermont County, Ohio between 1910 and 1914, when Celia dies there. Their son William Harmon Mays, also moves to Clermont County with his young daughter after the death of his first wife. His second wife will give birth to my grandfather there in 1923. Nancy was a mystery for a while. She didn’t move to Ohio with her family. I eventually found a death record for her under the name Nancy Ann Sparks. This led me to her household in 1920. She was married to Andy J Sparks and lived in Rowan County until her death. (I’m still missing her in 1930 though, she died in 1938.) Henry disappears. There are two Henry Mays’ in 1920 living in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Henry Mays, 1920 Census search

Funny enough, both of these households have wives named Martha. They are definitely two different households. I checked to be sure. My next step was to check on FamilySearch to see if there was a marriage listing for Henry.

FamilySearch Kentucky Marriage Records search

The only thing I don’t like about this record is that it doesn’t give Celia’s maiden name but otherwise everything fits. I’m more than a little disturbed by a 31 year old marrying a 13 year old but maybe the age is wrong.

1910 Census. Farmers, Rowan County, Kentucky.

Oh, maybe the age wasn’t wrong. My next step was to sort out where the family was in 1920.  The problem is neither Henry Mays from above fits at all. So instead I looked for Cordie’s family to see if Henry and Cordie were living with them. It’s a logical move since most of Henry’s family moved to Ohio.

Donohew household, 1920.

Now I’m confused. Cordie is still living at home, her age is still aged 13 (should be 16 by this time), and she’s listed as widowed? So now I have no idea what happened to Henry Mays. Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t been to find any death record for Henry anywhere. Even a check of Elliott County came up blank.

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